Republicans need to focus their fire on spending, spending and spending. President Obama is vulnerable and exposed and can be taken down over this issue. His recent drop in polling can be directly attributed to his spirited opposition to the sequester cuts.
Ever since Obama succeeded in raising taxes, he has been left naked and unprotected on his opposition to spending cuts. No longer can he deflect proposals to curb the massive federal spending and debt by saying that we should first try to raise taxes on the rich. Now that he has had his way, he’s lost his cover.
He now is seeking to cover up his plans for higher spending through his charm offensive with Republican leaders. But don’t fall for it.
Republicans should take dead aim at Medicaid and push for its block-granting as Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has proposed and turn it over to the states. By making Medicaid the focus, Republicans can point to its rapid inflation — it is rising in cost 50 percent faster than Medicare — and note that, under ObamaCare, it is slated to rise even more.
Obama’s strategy is to divert the focus from Medicaid or any of the other means-tested entitlements — food stamps, Section 8 housing, unemployment insurance, disability benefits or welfare — by talking, instead, about Medicare. It’s not that he wants to cut Medicare — he doesn’t — but it is that he hopes to get the GOP committed to Medicare cuts so that he can use it as a club to beat them up.
Obama wants Medicare to be the issue; Republicans must insist that it be Medicaid that is the center of attention.
Unfortunately, the Ryan budget includes his usual proposal to transform Medicare into a voucher system in 10 years. He says that his voucher system (called a premium support payment) will exist side by side with traditional Medicare. But only 5-10 percent of his projected budget savings of almost $5 trillion over 10 years comes from Medicare cuts. It is very unwise for the party to go down that road. It’s a trap.
By avoiding Medicare and Social Security and focusing the debate on Medicaid and government spending, the Republicans call Obama’s bluff and leave his plans for big government for all to see.